Is the Netflix Death Note white washing?
This is something that I’ve seen a lot of people complain about. So, I thought I’d give my opinion on the subject. This will also touch upon the white washing debate for Ghost in the Shell.
The latest Death Note live action is being created in America, so it’s understandable that they would use American actors… because it’s being filmed in America by an American film company. I don’t see why people are getting so upset and saying ‘Light is supposed to be Asian’, which makes sense in the original anime because it was set in Japan.
From what I can tell, this live action adaptation is set in America. Yes, they could use Asian actors in it if they wanted, but chances are they picked the best actors that auditioned for the roles.
They even changed the names to sound more American. It’s obvious what their intentions are. It’s a western adaptation, so they’re going all out and making it as western as possible because they want to. The adaptation is mostly going to be watched by those in Western countries, so it makes sense. Not everyone knows about Japanese culture or the way things are done over there, so the film wouldn’t be understood by those that aren’t anime fans or have no knowledge about Japan.
When anime are translated from Japanese into English, there’s the debate on whether to westernise it or not. This is very obvious in the visual novel Steins;Gate, as they decided to not westernise it as much but then things that are normal in Japan and not here had to be explained. If you pick up a manga novel, chances are there will be translator notes explaining certain things, like festivals that happen in Japan but not in western countries. Though sometimes it’s westernised, like Pokémon. There’s a very scene from the dub where Brock is holding up riceballs, but he calls them jelly doughnuts. This is because riceballs aren’t common in western countries, so to avoid confusing children, they changed the name to something they’d know and understand.
I don’t see why people are complaining about the characters being American in this adaptation. No one complained when Attack on Titan had a completely Asian cast, despite some of the characters not being Asian in the anime. Why was it accepted? Because it was made in Japan, and chances are the actors there are going to be Asian. It should be the same for Death Note, especially since it’s being westernised anyway.
This leads me on to my next point, Ghost in the Shell isn’t white washing either. Especially considering Major doesn’t even have a race. She’s a robot with a human brain.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!